A native of the western United States, and found commonly from southern California north to Washington, particularly in the more arid locations away from the coast.
An annual weed that departs dramatically from the appearance typical of many garden variety spurge plants. This a low-growing but bushy plant with large, very hairy leaves, and it forms a very thick foliage that completely covers the soil below, often in a mat over 2 feet in diameter.
Foliage is strongly scented, and ingestion by livestock or poultry can result in blockage of their digestive tract due to “hair balls” caused by the foliage. Native Indians used the plants to stupefy fish, and the seeds are highly edible and sought after by some birds, such as quail and doves.
Mature plants have a grayish-blue appearance due to the heavy covering of hairs over all the foliage. Multiple branching stems radiate out in a prostrate growth habit, resulting in plants that may be 18 inches high and over 2 feet across. The hairy covering of stems and leaves gives them a rough, bristly feel.
Leaves are thick, and oval in shape and up to 2 inches wide. They have 3 prominent veins and when crushed have a strong, unpleasant odor. The leaves are on slender, short stalks.
Flowers are small and inconspicuous, forming in small clusters nestled among the terminal leaves.
Characteristicts Important to Control:
Annual plants that are particularly common along dry roadsides. Plants have become resistant to some pre-emergent herbicides. Physical removal is possible and most effective if done prior to seed production.